May 30th, 2020

Words by Jaclyn Skurie

Lately, I’ve been on what feels like an impossible hunt for a specific kind of mask. I can’t even really explain exactly what I am looking for. But my weakly folded bandana from middle school continues to fall off my face at the most inconvenient times (e.g. when buying chocolate croissants in the bakery pick-up window, or when someone passes me on the street at the exact moment that I sneeze). If I’m going to wear one every day, I need to find something better!


The number of mask options out there is overwhelming. It seems like every single one of the ads on my Instagram now tries to sell me a face mask. In what feels like an obsession, I am also in a text group with two friends where all we talk about are masks. On April 19th, I texted Alia: For Nearness you should do a post curating cool masks people are making by hand and where you can buy them. We decided together that in my search for someone who can tell me what mask to buy, I have probably done more than enough research to actually write it up myself. Here are some of my finds!


Each design is different! And all handmade by Seattle artist @bellyflopp. Some are made using airbrush, some with vintage fabrics.


Brianna Gill

Brooklyn-based artist Brianna Gill is making these guys on her great-grandmother’s vintage Singer sewing machine. Hide your face with her face-covered fabrics. Message her @___mask___on___ on Instagram to get your own.



These handcrafted masks come from the LA latex clothing company Busted and ship internationally. All profits go to garment workers in their factory, which employs undocumented immigrants who don’t benefit from federal stimulus programs. 


Free & Easy

These tie dye masks are machine washable and come in a pack of three for $20. They’re sold out now but looks like they might re-stock soon! 


Grace Millar

Grace Millar has over a dozen patterns to choose from, and all proceeds go to hospital workers in New York City, where the artist is based. Masks are $17.

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I bought two of these handmade masks for myself from designer and visual artist Doresia Gutierrez. I love the checkered pattern, and a portion of the proceeds go to organizations like UndocuBlack Network and Border Kindness. Message her on Instagram @hoops_bb to purchase. Masks are $16 each and shipping is included.

HOOPS_blue stap mask.jpg

Kaiju Cut And Sew

These masks are made by hand in Austin, Texas from Japanese fabrics. Also they are machine-wash-friendly! They drop at different times on Instagram, so follow @kaijucutandsew and check the stories for new options. Masks cost $15 each and profits are donated to the Central Texas Food Bank.


Neta Revel

Neta Revel’s masks are some of the most beautiful I have seen anywhere and come with a matching scrunchie. She is based in Tel Aviv but ships internationally. Message her @netarevel on Instagram for an order!



This Portland-based shop uses all natural cottons and plant-based dyes like indigo and chamomile. One mask is donated for every mask sold and they ship internationally. $45 for a pack of two.



The one-woman swimwear operation rosa swim is dropping reversible masks on her Instagram @rosa_swim. The masks can fit a filter and use a combo of colorful prints, upcycled sheets and hand dyed textiles. Right now she is working on a batch made with avocado dye! My favorite is the cow print.


*None of these are sufficient replacements for medical-grade masks but do the trick for face coverings required to do every day activities :) 


Jaclyn Skurie lives in Brooklyn, New York. She makes documentaries and loves to eat coleslaw.